Many people have a fear of elevators and escalators, and for good reason. When you ride on a piece of machinery that lifts you far above the ground, your life becomes totally dependent upon the owners and operators who have the responsibility to ensure proper maintenance and safety.
Elevator and escalator accidents lead to the deaths of about 30 people each year in the United States—and seriously injure around 17,000 people annually, according to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Tenacious personal injury lawyer Johnnie Bond helps escalator and elevator accident victims and their families in the DMV find justice and compensation. But it is important to act quickly to preserve evidence to support your claim. If you or a loved one suffered an injury related to an elevator or escalator in the DC area, contact an experienced escalator and elevator accident lawyer soon after the accident to receive the maximum level of assistance.
What to Do After an Elevator or Escalator Accident
After an accident, it is crucial to get a thorough medical exam and treatment, but it is also important to take steps to protect your ability to recover compensation to cover the costs of that treatment. Try to take the following steps as soon as possible:
- Contact the property owner or manager to get a copy of the incident report
- Take detailed photos (close up and expanded view) and videos of the condition of the elevator or escalator. (The longer you wait to take pictures, the more likely that the dangerous condition that caused the accident will be repaired, leaving you without crucial evidence.)
- Look for video cameras in the vicinity and note the locations. The incident may be captured on video, or video could be used to show the poor operating condition of equipment before or after the accident
- Have your attorney contact the property owner or manager or get a court order to require preservation of video footage. (If you wait, there is a good chance this video footage will be erased.)
- Get contact information for any witnesses and have your attorney take statements while their memories are fresh
You can only recover compensation for your injuries if your attorney can prove that someone’s negligence caused those injuries. Collecting evidence early on is vital for the success of your claim.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability refers to a property owner’s responsibility to keep visitors safe, called the duty of care. Owners must complete required maintenance tasks and reasonably identify and eliminate possible causes of accidents.
Whether you are on public or private property, you should not be placed in danger by the property owner’s negligence. If lack of maintenance or reasonable care results in an elevator or escalator accident, the property owner may be liable.
Common Causes of Elevator Accidents
You find elevators in all types of places from malls and shopping centers to office buildings and schools. Many apartment complexes have elevators, as do hospitals and museums.
Several common causes of elevator accidents include:
- Pulley malfunctions
- Wiring issues
- Flawed leveling
- Lack of maintenance
- Poor maintenance
- Lack of or inadequate inspections
- Shafts open for repairs
- Poor design
Even a simple trip-and-fall accident caused by improper leveling can result in serious injuries. Let our escalator and elevator accidents lawyer help you pursue compensation if you suffer an elevator injury.
Common Causes of Accidents on Escalators
Escalators are common in all types of places in the DMV area. In addition to its 275 elevators, the Washington DC Metro system alone includes 613 escalators.
Common causes of escalator accidents include:
- Mechanical malfunction
- Lack of maintenance
- Poor maintenance
- Missing stair teeth
- Poor design
Anyone who has ever tripped on an escalator knows how scary they can be, and unfortunately, these accidents can cause victims significant injuries.
Injuries that Occur Frequently in Escalator and Elevator Accidents
Many elevator and escalator injuries prove to be life-altering or life-threatening. Some common injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Bruises and lacerations
- Crush injuries
- Brain injuries
In one case, a ten-year-old boy suffered catastrophic brain injury and paralysis after leaning over to observe an elevator shaft that was improperly exposed. In another situation, a woman was killed on an escalator after her hair and scarf became trapped in the mechanism.
When timely maintenance or foresight could have prevented the accidents from happening, it is truly tragic.
Contact a Elevator and Escalator Accident Lawyer Serving the Washington DC Area
Contact Johnnie Bond and his team if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an escalator or elevator accident in the DMV. The accident team at Johnnie Bond Law are dedicated to providing empathetic support and aggressive representation for victims and their families.
When you trust your case to Johnnie Bond Law, we will handle everything so that you or your family member can focus on recovering. Get in touch with us today for personal injury and wrongful death representation in the DMV area. You can contact us online or call us at 202-683-6803 to schedule a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Escalator and Elevator Accident
What kind of accidents can occur on an elevator or escalator?
Although many different types of accidents occur on escalators, some of the most frequent are slip and fall accidents and injuries caused by entrapment. In a slip and fall incident, a fall victim can suffer injuries that include traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and compound fractures. When a victim’s fingers, hair, clothing or shoes become entrapped in an escalator, injuries often include dislocations, fractures, and amputations.
Elevator accidents can also cause trip and fall injuries and entrapment injuries, including crush injuries. However, because of the potential for an elevator to drop multiple stories, elevator accidents are more often fatal. Some victims have suffered severe injuries or death from drops in an elevator or down open shafts caused by door malfunctions.
What are some of the most common elevator and escalator incidents that result in an injury?
Elevator and escalator accidents are often caused by negligence in the manufacture, design, or maintenance of these complex pieces of machinery. For instance, if comb plates are missing or there are sizable gaps at handrail entries or between steps on an escalator, children can get fingers entrapped and seriously injured. Companies responsible for maintaining elevators and escalators can be held liable if an elevator doesn’t level properly or doors open when the elevator is on another floor.
The company responsible for building maintenance can also be at fault. If they shut down power without closing off access, a sudden stop could lead to falls. Inadequate lighting can also cause falls.
What should I do to start the process of considering a claim in my elevator or escalator accident?
The most important step is to receive a thorough medical exam as soon as possible after the accident. Keep records of your injuries and how those injuries impact your life. If your doctor tells you to avoid certain actions and to return for additional care, follow those directions.
As soon as possible, collect evidence to support your claim before the situation changes. Get copies of incident reports, take photos of the accident scene, and take steps to get video footage before it can be erased or recorded over.
A personal injury lawyer familiar with escalator and elevator accident cases can help collect and preserve evidence. Your attorney could also answer questions from investigators to help you avoid saying or doing something that could jeopardize your claim. An experienced lawyer can evaluate the situation, explain your options, and help you reach the maximum physical and financial recovery.
What kind of compensation could I obtain in a personal injury lawsuit after an elevator or escalator accident?
When you can prove that someone’s negligence or other wrongful behavior caused your accident, you can recover damages for tangible and intangible losses. Tangible losses include your medical expenses and lost wages during recovery. Your intangible losses can be worth a lot more. They include pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
Who is liable for an elevator and escalator accident injury claim?
Many parties could be responsible for an elevator or escalator accident. The owner of the premises has a duty to keep areas safe or post warning barriers to keep people away from dangerous situations. If the owner knew or should have known that an elevator was not working, for instance, the owner should have placed prominent warning signs to keep people from attempting to use it.
The victim of an elevator or escalator accident may be able to bring a claim against the:
- Property owner
- Manager of the facility
- Maintenance company
- Manufacturer of the elevator, escalator, or component parts
In addition, if other passengers or individuals contributed to the cause of the accident, they could be held liable as well. For instance, if someone pushed their way onto an elevator or escalator and caused others to lose their balance, that person could be held responsible for injuries that resulted.
What is the statute of limitations involving elevator and escalator accidents?
If the accident occurred in DC or Maryland, then victims must file a claim within three years of the accident. Victims suffering from accidents in Virginia have only two years to prepare and file their claim. Regardless of the location, however, it is wise to seek assistance from an attorney as soon as possible. Your legal representative could help you collect evidence to prove liability, and the best evidence is only available shortly after the accident.
Get a Free Case Evaluation.
We're Available to Help You 24/7.
You can also complete the form below, and we will reach out to you.